{20/04/2012}   Running for trains and planes

Yesterday, carrying a heavy backpack and shoulder bag, I ran from the number 45 King’s Cross bus terminus at 3.08 pm, ie the other side of King’s Cross to St Pancras, all the way into the front of King’s Cross and out opposite St Pancras. I got to my part of St Pancras at 3.10:29 and onto the train just after 3.11, when the doors shut and the 3.12 set off. It was an achievement, mainly physically. But it wasn’t pretty, I am not designed for running.

The night before, I had watched Run Lola Run for the first time in years. Unsurprisingly given the title, there are a lot of scenes of Lola running. She is a young, relatively fit looking actress with far smaller boobs and generally less weight to carry than me. Her running was good to watch. Yesterday, possessed by the idea of catching that train, I ran so fast I had to grab my backpack tightly, my inadequately harnessed boobs even tighter and I know I walloped at least two people dithering in the path of my mission.

Sitting on the train regaining composure and finishing off my much needed emergency energy boost biscuits, I contemplated running for public transport. Missing my train would have meant a half hour wait for an indirect train, thus depriving me of 45 minutes at home. At work, I hurriedly finished my job, aware there was a chance I could catch that train. People who commute by train are largely guided by train times when it comes to deeming it the right time to leave work for the day. It is a distressing moment or two when an additional piece of work or a glitch dictates you are committed to, with half hourly trains, another 28 minutes or so before it’s worth your while going to the station. Bad karma.

My most heroic transport related run was through Gatwick airport to catch a flight that I would have caught fine had there not been massive queues through x-ray after a series of London transport worst case scenarios. I had asked a few passing staff whether I should push to the front but I was assured all would be ok. All was not ok. I did eventually push in as I could hear my name being called. There was no pride in my announcing, pointing to the ceiling from which my name was echoing, “Er, that’s me”. I ran like the wind to a far reaching gate (I am cutting this story short but it was worse than it will seem), sounding like a wheezing, rasping lifelong 40-a-day-er. The attendant said they were making moves to retrieve and remove my case so radio calls were made … while I fumbled around, dripping – I do not exaggerate – with sweat, looking for my boarding card. It transpired my boarding pass was not about my person. A call then came from security that my pass was there. The thought of running back was too much for me. Fortunately, before I had to bravely offer to return, security announced they would bring it by buggy thing. It arrived, I was still a red, sweaty, rasping mess. Then I had to board the plane, the last person, and endure the annoyed stares. I forced my explanation on the man next to me. It was an explanation far further reaching than I have detailed here! We then flew over my road a mere matter of minutes later, the one I had leisurely left four hours earlier, rightfully optimistic of time to kill in the Gatwick shops!

In conclusion, running for public transport is extremely stressful, in my case horribly unattractive and it only just makes the run worthwhile by the time you catch said transport! Mind you, I’d have been more annoyed to have just missed yesterday’s train than having just caught it!


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